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About John Cropper
The Cropper family and their residence, Dingle Bank, were well known in Liverpool throughout most of the nineteenth century. Their philanthropic works provided a source of inspiration to all citizens of Liverpool, rich and poor alike.
John Cropper was renowned for being rich, but also being generous. It is said that a letter addressed to "the most generous man in Liverpool" ended up on his desk. Every year he and his wife would entertain juvenile delinquents who were serving their sentences at the prison shop "Akbar". Cropper would also hold a bible class every Sunday at a home the family had set up for "fallen girls." This was in addition to the ragged school they set up for local pauper's children. This school was known as "St. Croppers" and is likely to be the one referred to in the poem below.
In 1836, his father's partner, Robert Rathbone Benson (known as "Robert R"), had resigned membership from the Quakers. This was no small affair as the Quaker church was the centre of its members community. Benson was involved with, and related to, Isaac Crewdson (a leader to the Manchester Quaker meeting). Crewdson had written and published a book in January 1835 called A Beacon to the Society of Friends. The controversy it ignited, which related to the role of evangelism in the Society, eventually led to the resignation of Crewdson Benson and about 300 similarly minded people across the country. Benson moved to Manchester. It was because of this internal controversy that on 31 January 1838, John Cropper's father James Cropper ended the partnership of Cropper, Benson & Co. which had made the family rich and wealthy. His father wanted to direct his energies to philanthropic interests and his two sons, John and Edward, had agreed. In 1840, John Cropper journeyed to London to attend the World's anti-slavery convention on 12 June 1840. The picture shows him in a painting made to commemorate the event which attracted delegates from America, France, Haiti, Australia, Ireland, Jamaica and Barbados. Cropper joined the committee of the Liverpool City Mission and served as its President from 1847 to 1874. In 1853 Harriett Beecher Stowe visited England and stayed first at John Croppers house, Dingle Bank. On 23 September 1853 Cropper's second son, John Wakefield Cropper, married Susanna Elizabeth Lydia Arnold. Susanna was third daughter of the late Dr Arnold of Rugby School 
There is one last word on John Cropper written by Edward Lear 1812-1888
He lived at Dingle Bank - he did; - He lived at Dingle Bank; And in his garden was one Quail, Four tulips and a Tank: And from his window he could see The otion and the River Dee.
His house stood on a Cliff, - it did, Its aspic it was cool; And many thousand little boys Resorted to his school, Where if of progress they could boast He gave them heaps of buttered toast. But he grew rabid-wroth, he did, If they neglected books, And dragged them to adjacent Cliffs With beastly Button Hooks, And there with fatuous glee he threw Them down into the otion blue.
And in the sea they sway, they did, - All playfully about, And some eventually became Sponges, or speckled trout: - But Liverpool doth all bewail Their Fate; - likewise his Garden Quail.
- Wikipedia contributors. "John Cropper." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
- Burke, Bernard, Sir. A genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain & Ireland 6th ed. London : Harrison 1879. Vol I. page 397